On the pulse of pulsars and polar light

1 day 9 hours ago
Faced with the tragic loss of the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico and the often prohibitive cost of satellite missions, astronomers are searching for savvy alternatives to continue answering fundamental questions in physics.

A new super-Earth detected orbiting a red dwarf star

1 day 13 hours ago
In recent years there has been an exhaustive study of red dwarf stars to find exoplanets in orbit around them. These stars have effective surface temperatures between 2400 and 3700 K (over 2000 degrees cooler than the Sun), and masses between 0.08 and 0.45 solar masses. In this context, a team of researchers led by Borja Toledo Padrón, a Severo Ochoa-La Caixa doctoral student at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), specializing in the search for planets around this type of stars, has discovered a super-Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf star situated some 36 light years from the Earth.

Fast radio bursts shown to include lower frequency radio waves than previously detected

1 day 15 hours ago
Since fast radio bursts (FRBs) were first discovered over a decade ago, scientists have puzzled over what could be generating these intense flashes of radio waves from outside of our galaxy. In a gradual process of elimination, the field of possible explanations has narrowed as new pieces of information are gathered about FRBs—how long they last, the frequencies of the radio waves detected, and so on.

NASA rocket to survey the solar system's windshield

1 day 17 hours ago
Eleven billion miles away—more than four times the distance from us to Pluto—lies the boundary of our solar system's magnetic bubble, the heliopause. Here the Sun's magnetic field, stretching through space like an invisible cobweb, fizzles to nothing. Interstellar space begins.

Surprise twist suggests stars grow competitively

1 day 17 hours ago
A survey of star formation activity in the Orion Nebula Cluster found similar mass distributions for newborn stars and dense gas cores, which may evolve into stars. Counterintuitively, this means that the amount of gas a core accretes as it develops, and not the initial mass of the core, is the key factor in deciding the final mass of the produced star.

Peering through the clouds of Earth's 'Evil Twin' surprises NRL sky watchers

2 days 13 hours ago
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientists were recently left scratching their heads over a familiar sight in the sky. Venus images are nothing new, but a solar probe surprised the researchers by seeing through the planet's clouds. NRL's Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) took a stunning image of Earth's celestial neighbor Venus last year that left researchers searching for answers as to how what they were seeing was possible. Expecting to see just the featureless Venusian clouds, the NRL WISPR team were instead shocked at what they saw.

Researchers identify five double star systems potentially suitable for life

2 days 15 hours ago
Almost half a century ago the creators of Star Wars imagined a life-sustaining planet, Tatooine, orbiting a pair of stars. Now, 44 years later, scientists have found new evidence that that five known systems with multiple stars, Kepler-34, -35, -38, -64 and -413, are possible candidates for supporting life. A newly developed mathematical framework allowed researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi and the University of Washington to show that those systems—between 2764 and 5933 light years from Earth, in the constellations Lyra and Cygnus—support a permanent "Habitable Zone", a region around stars in which liquid water could persist on the surface of any as yet undiscovered Earth-like planets. Of these systems, Kepler-64 is known to have at least four stars orbiting one another at its center, while the others have two stars. All are known to have at least one giant planet the size of Neptune or greater. This study, published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, is proof-of-principle that the presence of giant planets in binary systems does not preclude the existence of potentially life-supporting worlds.

Famous fast radio burst FRB20180916B just barely lets itself be captured

2 days 23 hours ago
Two international teams of astronomers (with significant Dutch involvement) have published two scientific papers with new information about the famous fast radio burst FRB20180916B. In a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, they measured the radiation from the bursts at the lowest possible frequencies. In a study published in Nature Astronomy, they examined the bursts in the greatest possible detail. While the articles provide new information, they also raise new questions.
39 minutes 56 seconds ago
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